11 Wrestlers who Returned from Career Ending Injury

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Wrestler superstars never hold back to take high risks just to impress their fans. Some of their  moves are executed properly while some didn’t, causing a lifetime injury. Some of them had to retire due to their injuries while there are some of the wrestlers who returned from career ending injury.

WWE Wrestlers who came back after career threatening Injuries


Lita Injury

The most hardcore female wrestler of her era Lita was on a hike of her career around 2000-2002. She was part of Team Xtreme alongside The Hardy Boyz.

On 6th April 2002 during a Science fiction television drama series named Dark Angel rehearsal she was performing a Hurricanrana. While performing it, she landed awkwardly on her neck and shoulder. She was suddenly taken to hospital where the doctor revealed that Lita had suffered a serious neck injury with  three cracks in her vertebrae. On 30th April 2002 she went through a successful neck surgery and spent her time in rehabilitation. 

After her hard work and proper treatment doctors cleared her for her in-ring return. And on 15th September 2003 after almost seventeen long months she made her first in-ring return on Raw saving Trish Stratus from two on one assault  by the hands of Molly Holly and Gail Kim.


Sting Injury

Ever since WCW was purchased by WWF which is now WWE in 2001 Sting never appeared in WWE. Fans always wanted to see one of the greatest wrestlers Sting competing in one of the greatest wrestling companies WWE. On 23rd November 2014 at Survivor Series pay per view Sting made his first appearance at WWE helping Dolph Ziggler by attacking Triple H in a Team Cena vs Team Authority match. 

On 20th September 2015 at Night of Champions Sting was in a match with Seth Rollins for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It was the second turnbuckle Powerbomb delivered by Seth during the match that led Sting causing a serious neck injury. However, somehow Sting managed to complete his match till the end. After his loss by the hands of Seth Rolling he was taken backstage with the help of medical staff. 

Later on Ric Flair’s “WOOOOO! Nation” podcast Episode no 32 Sting revealed that he is suffering from a serious neck injury called Cervical Spinal Stenosis, the same injury which caused Edge also to retire from wrestling . Sting spinal canal was choked from two locations and he requires surgery to fix it. After successful surgery at the age of 56 he spent most of his time getting himself better. And after 6 long years on 07th march 2021 at AEW Revolution, Sting was seen for the first time competing in a wrestling company. This was a pre-taped cinematic match between Sting teaming up with Allin against team Taz (Brain Cage and Ricky Starks) where Team Sting and Allin got the upper hand.

Stone Cold Steve Austin    

Stone cold injury

At SummerSlam 1997 Stone Cold was in a match with Owen Hart for the Intercontinental Championship. It was that moment when Owen Hart completely botched while performing a Tombstone Piledriver on Stone Cold. It was believed that Steve’s head was a few inches lower as it was expected to be for a safe execution which results in a Stone Cold landing hard on the ring with his neck. Owen soon realized that he botched as Stone Cold screamed saying that he can’t feel his fingers. Owen then starts messing with the crowd and taunting them to give Austin some time to recover. As soon as Austin gained some consciousness he performed a roll over and took a pin fall victory on Owen which clearly seems an abrupt ending.

Stone Cold then was taken backstage with the help of three referees. Later Stone Cold revealed that after the Tombstone piledriver he couldn’t feel his body resulting in a temporary paralysis and could hardly only move his limbs. 

Doctor stated that he requires Spinal Fusion surgery in order to make his neck fully recovered. But Stone Cold being at the peak of his career he continued to wrestle with his injured neck for two more years before he had Neck spinal fusion surgery in 1999. And then he again returned in 2000 and continued wrestling for 3 more years and took retirement in 2003. He was another wrestler who returned from Career ending Injury.

Also Read : WWE Wrestlers Who had done Hair Transplant Surgery

Roman Reigns

Roam Reigns Leukemia

For most of the reader it must be shocking to see Roman Reigns in this list as he never went through a career ending injury. But yes he went through a life ending cancer disease called Leukemia.

On 22nd october 2018 at monday night Raw Roman Reigns broke his character and WWE universe also came to know that this isn’t a storyline when Roman Quoted line” My read name is Joe”. He said that it was 11 years back when he was at the age of 22 he was first diagnosed with chronic myeloid Leukemia and now it’s back. During the WWE regular check ups medical staff found that his white blood cell was elevated and everyone knows about his history and what’s wrong going on with him. He needs to take a hiatus from WWE for his treatment. 

Roman soon started medical treatment by taking oral chemotherapy and  pills which have their own side effects. But luckily he was ahead of his illness. And after four months on 25th february 2019 Roman Reign made his return to WWE beating Leukemia. Now WWE universe is also very much appreciating this new Roman Reigns with his Head of the table character storyline.

Triple H

Triple H leg injury

The Game Triple H has a history with his knee injury not one but twice. On 21st May 2001 at Raw is War, Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin were defending their WWF Tag team championship against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. During the match when Jericho was holding Austin in his submission maneuver, walls of Jericho, Triple H came running and broke the hold. While doing so Triple H twisted his left knee and suddenly fell on the ground.

Somehow this tough guy managed to complete the match and he delivered one pedigree also after the injury. The match ended and they  retained their championship. After the match doctors examined Triple H knee injury and said that he has Torn his Quad and has to undergo knee Quadricep surgery for his recovery. After a successful surgery and resting for eight month Triple H returned on 07th January 2002 at Raw in Madison Square Garden.

Second time Triple H also Triple H faces the same quadriceps injury but this time on the opposite leg. On 07th January 2007 at New Years Revolution pay per view it was DX against Rated RKO. Triple H injured his Right knee while delivering a SpineBuster on Randy Orton. Soon the referee also marked an Ex-sign to inform backstage something is really wrong with Triple H knees. And again this time also Triple H managed to continue the match and he even delivered two pedigree out of which one was on the announce table.

Shawn Michaels understanding the match condition, hits a punch to the referee, and starts using his high fly diving moves to cheer the audience. He also brought chairs into the ring and started hitting shots on Edge and Randy giving Triple H some time to recover. However, the match ends abruptly in a no-contest as No member of Rated-RKO seems able to continue the match. Triple H again had undergone knee torn quadricep surgery on 09 january 2007 and returned after seven months of rest.

It is very interesting to note that the second knee injury to Triple H was on the same date on which he returned from his first knee injury.

Mick Foley

Mike Foley ear

His injury is more like a tragedy and not every weak hearted can hear about it. On 16 march 1994 at WCW European Tour Mick Foley (Cactus Jack at that time) and Big Vader Van Vader were booked for a match.

During the match while Mick Foley was performing a clothesline on his opponent, Vader dodge the move and Mick Foley entangled himself between top and middle rope. It wasn’t the first time he found himself in such a condition but he always manages to escape it safely. Unlike WCW rope the European tour ring was using an elevator wire rope covered with rubber. It was difficult for him to get out of the rope as these ropes were very tight with less elasticity and he could feel the stress on his neck and face as his body was hanging without any support on the rope.

Somehow he powered up and managed to get himself free from the rope and fell down. When he again entered the ring and started exchanging blows with Vader, Mick Foley right side Ear fell on the ground which was already half ripped off when he was stuck between the ropes. Referee quickly picked up that ear and handed it to the ring announcer. Mick lost the match and after that match he was taken to a hospital. Surgery has been done to fix his ear but his ear never looked normal as before again. This tragic incident is enough for any wrestler to give his wrestling career away but Foley is hard enough to continue wrestling after that incident also. 

This is the only reason he always used to keep long hair to keep his surgical ear covered. This make him one of the Wrestlers who returned from Career ending Injury

 Bret Hart

Bret Hart Injury

A legendary wrestler from the Hart family Bret The Hitman Hart was very impressive with his wrestling skills inside the ring. On 19th December 1999 at Starrcade pay per view Bret Hart was booked in a match with Bill Goldberg to defend his WCW World Heavyweight Championship. During the match Goldberg botched by delivering a trust kick on Bret head for which he wasn’t prepared. This was the first concussion Bret faced in this match. Another he faced when Bret was about to hold Goldberg in a Figure Four Leglock on the ring post and Goldberg failed to receive the move properly resulting in Bret’s head hitting the concrete floor. He revealed  that he total had three concussions which let him retire from wrestling career. 

Ignoring his head injury criticality he continues wrestling. Later he started to face post concussion syndrome like temporary memory loss. And after wrestling for one more year after his head injury Bret Hart took retirement from wrestling. Bret returned to WWE in 2009 and began a feud with McMahon but never had in ring wrestling again in WWE.

Also Read : Only 3 WWE Wrestlers who Defeated both Goldberg and Brock Lesnar


Edge injury

On 26th September 2002 at smackdown, Edge and Late Eddie Guerrero were in a no disqualification match. During this match Edge injured his neck when he fell on a ladder. He said he could hear a crack sound but thought it came from the ladder. His injury got worse when Eddie delivered a sunset powerbomb from the ladder. Luckily he managed to complete the match and took a win. For a few months Edge ignored his Injury and pain and continued wrestling. But he soon started feeling post injury symptoms resulting in him feeling some  numbness on his hand. It was found that Edge was suffering from Cervical Spinal Stenosis and requires surgery. On 23rd Feb 2003 WWE booked Edge in a storyline where he was brutally attacked backstage and suffered serious injury and will be out of action for several months. During this time Edge had his neck surgery.

On 22nd 2004 March Edge returned after thirteen month.This time Edge became the top superstar of the industry. He continued wrestling till 2011 until he again started feeling numbness on his hand and losing the basic strength. Edge was again diagnosed with Cervical Spinal Stenosis and the doctor would not clear him to wrestle. On 15th April 2011 at smackdown Edge Relinquished his World Heavyweight Championship and announced his retirement. 

But everyone knows about the love of  Edge toward wrestling, and this injury could not hold Edge away from wrestling. On 26th January 2020 at Royal Rumble pay per view Edge made his return after nine years of retirement. Edge had never been seen in such great shape before as he was at The Royal Rumble.

Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels injury

 On 18th January 1998 at Royal Rumble Shawn Michaels was in a casket match with The Undertaker. During the match, Shawn came running toward the Undertaker when he was near the rope but Undertaker tossed Shawn in the air and Shawn took a back body drop out of the ring with his lower back hitting the side edge of the casket. This drop caused him to herniated  two  discs and one was crushed completely. Heartbreak Kid was able to continue the match and took a win with the assistance of other DX members and Kane. But his injury made him retire from WWE.

After four year on 3rd June 2002 Michaels returned. With his return his career took new heights and he was able to have many lifetime memorable matches.

Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan neck injury

It all started on Monday night Raw on 17th June 2013 when Daniel Bryan was in No Disqualification with Randy Orton. While Daniel was performing a suicide dive out of the ring and he missed. His head hit hard with guardrail, he could feel the terrible pain going down his arms. Daniel Bryan also said that while he delivered a drop kick to Randy Orton and landed he couldn’t feel his arms. Soon after, the referee came to know the condition of Daniel Bryan and at last announced Randy Orton winner as Daniel was not able to complete the match against his will. 

This wasn’t enough to stop Daniel Bryan and he continued to the path of glory till WrestleMania which took place on 6th April 2014. Few days after WrestleMania Daniel felt losing his Right arm strength and he decided to go for a surgery before it became permanent. On 12th May 2014 WWE showed an angle where Kane attacked Daniel Bryan and injured his neck which was all part of the storyline and gave Daniel some time for his surgery.

On 15th May 2014 Daniel underwent a successful neck surgery with a cervical foraminotomy to decompress the nerve root having been performed. It was told to Daniel that he would recover in around eight weeks. But his arm strength seems not to be coming back and the doctor felt a second surgery is required. Daniel instead went to Denver city for some Muscles Activation Technique and saw the result coming out. After a long time Daniel could feel strength coming  back into his arms and he started training kickboxing and jiu jitsu.

On 15th January 2015 Daniel competed on WWE after eight months. Then Daniel again had a forehead injury on 2nd April 2015 in a match against Sheamus. Daniel spit his forehead open on the commentator broadcast table which later required stitches for the wound. Last daniel was seen competing in a match on 16th April 2015 and  later at Raw episode on 11th May 2015 Daniel announced his in-ring retirement as a wrestler due to his series of head injuries and post concussion seizures. MRI scan of Daniel revealed that he had a subacute or chronic lesion in the brain’s temporoparietal region.

After three long years of treatment Daniel Bryan was medically cleared for in-ring return and on 20th March 2018 at smackdown Daniel addressed the universe about it and thanked all for their prayer which worked as a healing for him. Daniel returned as a wrestler for the first time in three years at Wrestlemania 34 on 8th April 2018 in a tag team match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zyan with Shane McMohan as his tag team partner.


Paige neck injury

British Diva wrestler Paige was the youngest WWE Diva Champion at the age of 21. She’s the only wwe superstar to hold both the NXT womens and WWE Divas championship simultaneously. Paige was already suffering from Scoliosis before her wrestling days which was actually diagnosed when she was working as a trainee with WWE. Paige and WWE together were working on it.

To add further recovery to her treatment she had to go for a neck surgery. On 19th October 2016 she went through a successful neck surgery with three screws installed in her neck. Though it was a critical surgery and required long time rest to fully get fixed, Paige being wrestling in her bloodline, returned just after eleven months of taking rest on 20th November 2017 which was not sufficient to fix her surgical neck. 

On 27th December at WWE live event House show Paige again injured her neck when she was in a six woman tag team match teaming up with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose against Sasha Banks, Bayley and Mickie James. Sasha Banks delivered a kick to the back side of Paige’s neck and Paige fell down and struggled to get up again. Referee ended the match at no-contest and called a stretcher for Paige. Knowing that this could be the last walk away as a wrestler from the ring Paige decided to go on her own feet walking backstage.

This was the last day Paige competed in a wrestling match and took her retirement at the age of 25. It seems like Paige has only returned from her surgery just to get injured again. She never blamed Sasha for it as she already knew that her weak neck was never in the state to take such hits. However her fans still believe that she could make her in-ring return the same as Daniel Bryan and Edge did after their neck injury.

Also Read : 9 WWE Wrestlers who appeared in Olympics

This is the dark side of the wrestling world where wrestling superstars risk their body just to entertain their fans. They even came back from their career threatening injuries just to perform one more time putting their life at the stake.

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